Tobias Harris is dealing with ‘a little aching' in his knee

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Despite a Sixers lead that had once been comfortable dwindling as low as three points late in the fourth quarter, Tobias Harris did not play the final 3:37 of his team’s 123-117 win Wednesday over the Nets.

“He was limping around,” head coach Doc Rivers said. “I felt we could win the game without him. I didn’t want to take a chance … that was the reason.”  

Harris, who scored 26 points, is a durable player that takes pride in his conscientious preparation and near-constant availability. He played in all but one of the Sixers’ games last season, although the team's decision to let him battle through a right knee contusion on Feb. 24, 2020 against the Hawks was puzzling. 

He missed three games this January due to health and protocols and sat out two in late February after suffering a right knee contusion. Harris’ most recent absence was last Saturday in Oklahoma City, with the classification “right knee soreness.”

It doesn’t sound as if that issue has fully resolved. 

“I’ve been having a little aching in my knee, so that was kind of limiting me there in the fourth quarter,” he said. “Just really kind of a day-by-day thing, and get myself as much rest and take proper care of my knee treatment-wise so I can feel better. Even going into today’s game, it was pretty much 50-50 if I was going to be able to go. It’s a day-to-day thing. Hopefully, with some rest and recovery, I can feel better come tomorrow and the next day.”

The Sixers will continue their four-game homestand Friday night vs. the Clippers. 

Asked whether Dwight Howard would be available for that game after sitting Wednesday with left knee soreness, Rivers started with a joke about the 35-year-old’s attire. 

“Could you miss him with those orange pants? That’s a better question,” he said. “Yeah, he’s fine. It was maintenance a little bit, but his knee was a little sore after the game the other night. This morning in shootaround he wasn’t moving very well and we just decided, late scratch.”

Howard had appeared in every one of the Sixers’ games until Wednesday.

George Hill has yet to make his debut for the team, though he’s been working out before games and was optimistic when he spoke last week about his progress following right thumb surgery in February. 

Harris has no hesitation about playing through pain or discomfort, but he might be due for another evening off if this knee soreness lingers. Caution is the norm around the league for stars dealing with physical issues. The Sixers saw that against a Nets team without seven players, among them James Harden (right hamstring strain), Kevin Durant (left hamstring injury management) and Blake Griffin (left knee injury management).

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